Tuesday, July 20, 2010

United both living and dead

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Romans 14:7-9

Over these past weeks with my mother we have been sorting through some old photographs and talking over the experiences they record. Some of these photographs are of relatives long dead, and some even long dead before I was born. I have listened to many stories now over the past weeks, some repeated time and time again, and I am realizing how related we all are, how embedded I am in a continuous and continuing stream. My aunt Kay's painting - We're Still Dancing - sums it all up for me. No matter how isolated or removed we get from family and clan, somehow, God is active in gathering us together, renewing and making us, restoring strength and bonds. Our Creator, giving us such unique and creative families has also committed to being with us in the activities of creation, in this life and the next. As we look over images together, as we touch them and turn them to the light, I have been given a great insight into God's activity in my life. To make me and weave me into the heart of a living, continuing family, which stretches beyond my understanding and beyond this time and space.

I have chosen these past few days to focus on Romans and not on Matthew's passion, not because I don't want to deal with it, but because the story stands for itself. The power of the story of betrayal, denial and crucifixion is God's story of our visceral connection to the living and the dead through the sacrifice and compassion of Christ. For me, there is no more I can say, but to live a life of grateful thanksgiving for that offering and passion.

Today, I want to live knowing that I am surrounded by ancestors who are still dancing and still praying for those of us living and working today. I am not alone in any effort or in any time. We are knitted together through the love of God who is willing to live and die with each of us, willing to bind us together no matter how far we have gone.

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